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House moves forward to restrict "sexual exhibitions" in public

Posted at 5:33 PM, Mar 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-02 19:33:13-05

House Bill 231, aiming to limit "sexual exhibitions" in public places, was originally drafted by the Idaho Family Policy Center (IFPC) and supported by Senator Ben Towes, has been approved by a House committee and is now moving to the floor.

If signed into law, the bill calls to prohibit the use of public facilities and public assets for live performances containing sexual conduct and allows people the ability to sue organizers of said events that do not restrict child access.

Many believe the intention is also to prevent drag shows from public property.

"It doesn't matter if we're talking about a sexually explicit strip tease... or a drag show... neither belongs in a public park, facility, or any other place where children are present, " says Blaine Conzatti, President, IFPC

Those opposed to the bill say drag is a form of self-expression and that it can be life saving.

Idaho News 6 heard from many of them at a recent event addressing letters to local legislators.

"The art of drag, it is so important for us, because for some of the performers, it has saved their life. It has allowed them to express a message to the community, to educate others in the community as well, so it is a beautiful art that allows us to present who we are, who we love, and where we're from," says Jahziel Hawley-Maldonado.

Several other states are considering similar bans. Today, Tennessee became the first state this year to restrict drag performances, with Gov. Bill Lee signing the bill into law.

In Arkansas, Gov. Gary Stubblefield has signed a bill putting restrictions on "adult-oriented" performances.